World Class Diversity Management

A Strategic Approach

Roosevelt Thomas (Author)

Publication date: 08/02/2010

World Class Diversity Management

R. Roosevelt Thomas proposes a framework that will enable the development of a world-class diversity management capability.

  • Copublished with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)

  • Advances the field by providing a unified framework and terminology and spelling out exactly what needs to be done to build world-class diversity management capability

  • Identifies optimal implementation approaches that can be used anywhere, anytime

With demographic shifts and globalization transforming the nature of relationships, interactions, and decision making, excellence in diversity management is more important than ever. However, the field of diversity has no established standard for evaluating what constitutes best practices, nor has there been any agreement on what the most fundamental philosophies, principles, and concepts are-until now. In this pioneering book R. Roosevelt Thomas, one of our most distinguished diversity theorists and practitioners, proposes a framework that will enable the development of a truly world-class diversity management capability. It was the development of such standards in manufacturing that enabled companies to strategically pursue excellence in this area.

A world-class approach to diversity management must be applicable anywhere in the world, be able to address any possible issue, facilitate comparison of different concepts and practices, and focus on the entire field of diversity rather than specific dimensions such as race or gender. These requirements are amply met by Thomas's Four Quadrant model and his Strategic Diversity Management Process„.

Thomas first analyzes each of four quadrants-managing workforce demographic representation, managing demographic relationships, managing diverse talent, and managing strategic mixtures-exploring the goals, motives, approaches, accomplishments, and challenges associated with each. And he reveals the unrecognized paradigm or mind-set that lies behind each quadrant's express purpose.

Once he has laid out the broad range of diversity management strategies, Thomas discusses how to realize them. He offers an overview of the Strategic Diversity Management Process-by far the most effective framework for implementation. He also examines the on-the-ground dynamics of implementing each of the strategies and their associated paradigms by incorporating a case study of a CEO, a composite of the many executives Thomas has worked with.

  • Copublished with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)

  • Advances the field by providing a unified framework and terminology and spelling out exactly what needs to be done to build world-class diversity management capability

  • Identifies optimal implementation approaches that can be used anywhere, anytime

 

With demographic shifts and globalization transforming the nature of relationships, interactions, and decision making, excellence in diversity management is more important than ever. However, the field of diversity has no established standard for evaluating what constitutes best practices, nor has there been any agreement on what the most fundamental philosophies, principles, and concepts areuntil now. In this pioneering book R. Roosevelt Thomas, one of our most distinguished diversity theorists and practitioners, proposes a framework that will enable the development of a truly world-class diversity management capability. It was the development of such standards in manufacturing that enabled companies to strategically pursue excellence in this area.

A world-class approach to diversity management must be applicable anywhere in the world, be able to address any possible issue, facilitate comparison of different concepts and practices, and focus on the entire field of diversity rather than specific dimensions such as race or gender. These requirements are amply met by Thomass Four Quadrant model and his Strategic Diversity Management Process.

Thomas first analyzes each of four quadrantsmanaging workforce demographic representation, managing demographic relationships, managing diverse talent, and managing strategic mixturesexploring the goals, motives, approaches, accomplishments, and challenges associated with each. And he reveals the unrecognized paradigm or mind-set that lies behind each quadrants express purpose.

Once he has laid out the broad range of diversity management strategies, Thomas discusses how to realize them. He offers an overview of the Strategic Diversity Management Processby far the most effective framework for implementation. He also examines the on-the-ground dynamics of implementing each of the strategies and their associated paradigms by incorporating a case study of a CEO, a composite of the many executives Thomas has worked with.

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Overview

R. Roosevelt Thomas proposes a framework that will enable the development of a world-class diversity management capability.

  • Copublished with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)

  • Advances the field by providing a unified framework and terminology and spelling out exactly what needs to be done to build world-class diversity management capability

  • Identifies optimal implementation approaches that can be used anywhere, anytime

With demographic shifts and globalization transforming the nature of relationships, interactions, and decision making, excellence in diversity management is more important than ever. However, the field of diversity has no established standard for evaluating what constitutes best practices, nor has there been any agreement on what the most fundamental philosophies, principles, and concepts are-until now. In this pioneering book R. Roosevelt Thomas, one of our most distinguished diversity theorists and practitioners, proposes a framework that will enable the development of a truly world-class diversity management capability. It was the development of such standards in manufacturing that enabled companies to strategically pursue excellence in this area.

A world-class approach to diversity management must be applicable anywhere in the world, be able to address any possible issue, facilitate comparison of different concepts and practices, and focus on the entire field of diversity rather than specific dimensions such as race or gender. These requirements are amply met by Thomas's Four Quadrant model and his Strategic Diversity Management Process„.

Thomas first analyzes each of four quadrants-managing workforce demographic representation, managing demographic relationships, managing diverse talent, and managing strategic mixtures-exploring the goals, motives, approaches, accomplishments, and challenges associated with each. And he reveals the unrecognized paradigm or mind-set that lies behind each quadrant's express purpose.

Once he has laid out the broad range of diversity management strategies, Thomas discusses how to realize them. He offers an overview of the Strategic Diversity Management Process-by far the most effective framework for implementation. He also examines the on-the-ground dynamics of implementing each of the strategies and their associated paradigms by incorporating a case study of a CEO, a composite of the many executives Thomas has worked with.

  • Copublished with the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)

  • Advances the field by providing a unified framework and terminology and spelling out exactly what needs to be done to build world-class diversity management capability

  • Identifies optimal implementation approaches that can be used anywhere, anytime

 

With demographic shifts and globalization transforming the nature of relationships, interactions, and decision making, excellence in diversity management is more important than ever. However, the field of diversity has no established standard for evaluating what constitutes best practices, nor has there been any agreement on what the most fundamental philosophies, principles, and concepts areuntil now. In this pioneering book R. Roosevelt Thomas, one of our most distinguished diversity theorists and practitioners, proposes a framework that will enable the development of a truly world-class diversity management capability. It was the development of such standards in manufacturing that enabled companies to strategically pursue excellence in this area.

A world-class approach to diversity management must be applicable anywhere in the world, be able to address any possible issue, facilitate comparison of different concepts and practices, and focus on the entire field of diversity rather than specific dimensions such as race or gender. These requirements are amply met by Thomass Four Quadrant model and his Strategic Diversity Management Process.

Thomas first analyzes each of four quadrantsmanaging workforce demographic representation, managing demographic relationships, managing diverse talent, and managing strategic mixturesexploring the goals, motives, approaches, accomplishments, and challenges associated with each. And he reveals the unrecognized paradigm or mind-set that lies behind each quadrants express purpose.

Once he has laid out the broad range of diversity management strategies, Thomas discusses how to realize them. He offers an overview of the Strategic Diversity Management Processby far the most effective framework for implementation. He also examines the on-the-ground dynamics of implementing each of the strategies and their associated paradigms by incorporating a case study of a CEO, a composite of the many executives Thomas has worked with.

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Meet the Author


Visit Author Page - Roosevelt Thomas

R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr. is CEO of Roosevelt Thomas Consulting & Training, Inc., and is founder and senior research fellow of the American Institute for Managing Diversity. Recognized by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top ten consultants in the country and cited by Human Resource Executive as one of HR's Most Influential People, he is a sought-after speaker and the author of several books, including Building on the Promise of Diversity and Beyond Race and Gender.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction

Part One: The Four Quadrants Model: Introduction

Chapter 1: Managing Workforce Representation

Chapter 2: Managing Workforce Relationships

Chapter 3: Managing Diverse Talent

Chapter 4: Managing All Strategic Diversity Mixtures

Part Two: Operationalization

Chapter 5: Strategic Diversity Management Process

Chapter 6: Managing Complexity

Chapter 7: The Dynamics of Strategies and Paradigms

Part Three: Application

Chapter 8: Jeff Kilt

Chapter 9: Relections of Jeff Kilt

Closing Thoughts

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Excerpt

World Class Diversity Management

1
MANAGING WORKFORCE REPRESENTATION

image

Quadrant 1

CEOs and other senior executives initiated the Managing Workforce Representation strategy (quadrant) in the 1960s to address the “diversity problem” of mainstreaming African Americans into their organizations. It is one of the two original organizational diversity management efforts—and the one that most people think of when they speak of diversity. The other strategy was Managing Workforce Relationships.

In the spirit of the civil rights laws and the civil rights movement, those senior managers sought to remove barriers to having descendants of slaves involved (represented) in their organizations. They sought this representation not for the sake of diversity or for the benefit of their organizations, but rather to make amends for past injustices.

On the surface, recruiting and hiring African Americans should have been rather straightforward. Yet it wasn’t. These leaders encountered an unexpected complication. Though willing, they were unprepared and lacked experience to recruit and select African Americans for professional, managerial, and skilled positions.

Initially, it had been hoped that outlawing employment discrimination would be sufficient to trigger a rush of African American applicants. When that did not happen, all kinds of questions surfaced: Where can we find qualified African Americans? How do we attract them? How do we assess their qualifications? Are there any qualified African Americans? How do we gain a competitive edge in attracting and hiring them?

The disappointing results of desegregation made clear that additional ways were needed to make the mainstreaming of African Americans happen.

This chapter discusses Quadrant 1’s attributes and those of its underlying paradigm—Make Amends for Past Wrongs. It also explores the ways a combination of societal, legal, and moral motives and actions interacted with the motives and actions of organizational leaders to give this quadrant its characteristic qualities.

QUADRANT PARAMETERS
Definition of Diversity

A review of the literature of the 1960s and 1970s reveals clearly that mainstreaming African Americans—not achieving diversity—was the initial goal. Over the years, various equal opportunity and antidiscrimination laws and policies for achieving that goal have expanded the population to be mainstreamed to include all “protected groups,” and any others who have been missing from the workforce. When talk of diversity and managing diversity emerged in the 1980s, for many, diversity and representation became synonymous. As a result, today, most laypeople speak of diversity as if it means representation. Code for this quadrant is “the numbers,” reflecting a concern with the numerical composition of the workforce.

Goal

The original goal of mainstreaming African Americans to increase their presence (representation) in the workforce remains. However, the goal has been expanded to create a workforce that is representative of the broader society by minimizing or eliminating the underrepresentation of multiple groups that have been insufficiently present.

Motives

There are several motives for pursuing representation. One is to comply with antidiscrimination and equal opportunity laws and policies. Another is to pursue social justice and human rights in the spirit of the civil rights movement. Some collapse legal compliance and social justice–human rights–civil rights motives into corporate social responsibility. The premise here is that society expects organizations to have a workforce whose composition reflects the broader community, and that socially responsible companies will pursue this end.

In recent years, others have sought to identify a business motive for advancing representation. For me, corporate social responsibility is the strongest motive for pursuing numerical representation in the work-force. Readers familiar with my early work in Beyond Race and Gender: Unleashing the Power of Your Workforce by Managing Diversity1 may be surprised that I say this, since I then stressed the importance of the business rationale. When doing that, however, I was referring to a motive for managing workforce diversity, not for pursuing representation. I continue to believe that for managing workforce diversity, the business rationale is the stronger motive.

Focus

Historically, the greatest attention has been placed on special efforts to make amends by creating a representative workforce. This focus has translated into a lot of attention on “the numbers,” as a key measurement of mainstreaming.

Approaches

Since the 1960s, several approaches have been used to create a representative workforce. Each reflects an ongoing effort to secure sustainable progress with the numbers.

One of the first tools was the Civil Rights Law of 1964. This landmark legislation outlawed racial segregation in schools, public places, and employment. In sum, the law broadly eliminated legal sanctions for segregation. Many advocates for desegregation had hoped that the law would promote racial and gender pluralism. When that did not happen, they turned once more to proactive options—the most prominent manifestation of which has been Affirmative Action.

Affirmative Action in the United States refers to policies that take gender, race, and ethnicity into account to promote equal opportunity. The practice began in 1961 with respect to projects funded with federal funds via President John F. Kennedy’s Executive Order 10925. Subsequently, in 1965, President Lyndon Johnson—via Executive Orders 11246 and 11375—expanded Affirmative Action to require that federal contractors and subcontractors “take affirmative action to ensure that ‘protected class, underutilized applicants’ are employed when available, and that employees are treated without negative discriminatory regard to their protected class status.”2 President Johnson’s orders went beyond those of President Kennedy in that they required not just freedom from racial bias in hiring and employment practices, but also steps to ensure the actual employment of the “underutilized protected” class.

Even organizations not covered by those Executive Orders moved to adopt Affirmative Action–type policies, reflecting the relatively widespread acceptance of Affirmative Action that existed until recent years.

As Affirmative Action both gained in acceptance and attracted opponents, advocates used the benefits of the diversity that would come from effective Affirmative Action to justify its continuance. The landmark use of this justification occurred in the 1978 case of Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke. Writing for the majority of the Supreme Court, Justice Lewis Powell upheld diversity in higher education as a “compelling interest” that justified the use of Affirmative Action on the basis of race.3

My view is that by “diversity,” Justice Powell meant racial pluralism and behavioral variations; further, he assumed that representation (pluralism) would give rise to behavior variations (such as that of thought and problem solving) that would benefit the educational process. For example, he wrote that “the atmosphere of speculation, experiment and creation—so essential to the quality of higher education—is to be promoted by a diverse student body.”4

In spite of this, Affirmative Action’s focus continues to be primarily on achieving numerical profiles and not on behavioral variations. Justice Powell’s assumption—despite the arguments of the defendants—was a big leap of faith. Implicit within the assumption was that pluralism and behavioral variations are related.

Experience has demonstrated otherwise. It is quite possible to have racial pluralism without behavioral variations and vice versa. This happens when managers work to screen out possible behavioral variations, or when the representation attributes do not define the individuals in question. For example, five engineers from an engineering program—say Georgia Institute of Technology—may be racially pluralistic but behave similarly because of their engineering training.

Nonetheless, the 1978 decision linked Affirmative Action and diversity and shifted or expanded the rationale for Affirmative Action from that of solely promoting equal opportunity to also fostering diversity (pluralism and behavioral variations). This link strengthened the tendency to equate Affirmative Action and diversity, even though fostering diversity was not part of the original concept. It also led to everything in this quadrant being labeled as diversity.

The benefits argument has advanced from the educational sector to other arenas. Corporations, for instance, often subscribe to the “benefits of diversity” school of thought. In a 2003 amicus curiae brief filed with the Supreme Court, sixty-five corporations maintained that diversity provided four basic benefits in the area of employment:

1. A diverse group of individuals educated in a cross-cultural environment has the ability to facilitate unique and creative approaches to problem solving arising from the integration of different perspectives.

2. Such individuals are better able to develop products and services that appeal to a variety of consumers and to market offerings in ways that appeal to those consumers.

3. A racially diverse group of managers with cross-cultural experience is better able to work with business partners, employees, and clientele in the United States and around the world.

4. Individuals who have been educated in a diverse setting are likely to contribute to a positive work environment by decreasing incidents of discrimination and stereotyping.5

Once again, these “benefits” presume representation and behavioral variations. In practice, this may not hold true, as previous examples suggest.

Another approach or tool has been the antidiscrimination laws that came about after the Civil Rights Law and the Affirmative Action executive orders. Illustrative of these laws are the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the American Disability Amendments Act of 2008.6 These laws suggest why compliance is often a motive for this quadrant. Early on, they often motivated corporations and other organizations to use strategic alliances to facilitate the recruitment of minorities and women. Corporate executives established these alliances with community groups to receive assistance in identifying possible candidates for employment.

Another tool has been to establish clear lines of accountability. Until recently, many diversity programs and strategies did not address this aspect. Some very elaborate and impressive plans lacked accountability—for example, about what happens if the plan is not implemented. As this weakness was recognized, change agents called for tying diversity objectives to managerial incentives. The prevailing sentiment was “If you don’t hit them in the pocketbook, you will not get their attention or results.”

An approach closely related to the benefits tool is to connect representation to an organization’s bottom line. These efforts, however, have not been persuasive. This is in part because it is difficult to trace an enterprise’s success to one factor—diversity or what ever. In addition, social justice advocates resist the bottom-line approach, fearing that it will distract from the attention required for “injustices” that remain.

Still another approach has been to secure CEO sponsorships. Proponents of this tool argue that CEO support is critical—without it little or nothing can be done. In organizations where this thinking prevails, the first question asked is “Does the CEO support this?”

Inclusion, a recently formulated approach, means different things to different people in theory. In practice, it often means representation; so here an “inclusive organization” becomes one that has signifi-cant race, ethnic, and gender representation.

Quadrant Accomplishments

Use of the strategy of Managing Workforce Representation has enhanced awareness and acceptance of the notion that representation should exist in all sectors of society, especially with respect to race, gender, and ethnicity. This signifies an important change from the mid-1960s, when law and custom reflected a view that not everyone should be in the mainstream.

Our country and its organizations are much more representative than ever before. So much so, that in April, 2009, deliberations regarding the continuation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Supreme Court Chief Justice Anthony M. Kennedy acknowledged “that the provision has been successful in rooting out discrimination in voting over the past 44 years. But times have changed.”7 Despite that view, the Supreme Court declined to eliminate critical parts of the act. The discussion of the quadrant’s challenges that follows suggests possible reasons for that.

Quadrant Challenges

Sustainability is a major challenge to this quadrant. Corporations cyclically make progress with the numbers only to experience a retreat. One CEO described his company’s diversity work over the past fifteen years and concluded by saying, “We go through frustrating five-year cycles of ‘special efforts’ to fill our pipeline with minority talent and set high expectations for their advancement—only to see them leave. Then we start over.” In particular, he was referring to the difficulties of retaining minorities and achieving proportionate representation throughout the hierarchy.

Some call this the revolving door challenge, in which members of targeted groups enter an organization but do not stay. One year a company emphasizes minority hiring, for example, and experiences significant numerical gains, only to find three or four years later that its “progress” has left through the revolving door.

Glass ceilings and premature plateauing are related challenges that result in members of targeted groups being disproportionately clustered at the bottom of the organizational pyramid. Glass ceiling refers to the invisible barriers that block upward mobility of a particular group of individuals, while premature plateauing references the failure of members of a group to realize their full potential. The two can be connected. Glass ceilings can cause premature plateauing.

One cause of a glass ceiling for women might be an unspoken belief that women for what ever reason cannot perform certain roles. One corporation, for example, had unwritten policies that women could not serve in executive roles requiring late hours because of family responsibilities. Eventually, a woman succeeded a senior male manager who routinely worked from eight in the morning to ten in the eve ning. This woman not only performed in an outstanding fashion; she left at 5 p.m. When her pre de ces sor was asked why he had stayed so late, he responded, “I hung around in case the CEO needed me.”

Another challenge is the tension between the original mainstreaming–social justice motive for pursuing representation and the benefits-of-representation motive. Those who subscribe to the justice motive fear that a focus on the benefits of diversity (representation) will lead to decreased emphasis on African Americans and the need for social justice in general. Instead, they contend, all kinds of representation will be sought for reasons other than justice. This split allegiance creates divisiveness about rationales for representation and about the definition of progress.

A challenge dating back to the 1960s is that of assuring harmony among workforce participants. Demographic tension—the stress and strain that can come from coexisting with people who have different physical and ethnic attributes—can threaten workforce harmony.

Do we have demographic tension today? We do. Between men and women: “She should not be here because she is preventing a man from working.” Between whites and Mexicans: “They’re everywhere; they’re taking over.” Between African Americans and His-panics: “When Hispanics become the largest minority in this community, we’ll be in trouble.”

Often, but not always, racism and other “isms” are the cause of tension. Many have a strong desire to move beyond this challenge. This aspiration is reflected in the hope that the election of an African American president of the United States signals enormous progress in eliminating the “isms.” While progress undoubtedly has been made, considerable evidence suggests that much remains to be done.

UNDERGIRDING PARADIGM: MAKE AMENDS FOR PAST WRONGS

The Managing Workforce Representation quadrant is best viewed within the context of its undergirding paradigm: Make Amends for Past Wrongs. Regardless of the discussion, at the core of Quadrant 1 is the desire to make amends for past wrongs. Sometimes this is explicit; at other times it is implicit. But in what ever form, it is not far away.

The reality is that the paradigm—as you will soon read—in no way identifies diversity as a goal. Even when the focus is on the benefits of diversity, representation is not defined as diversity. The tone of the dialogue tends toward justifying the real task—to make amends for past wrongs.

This was reiterated in recent remarks by Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery in a 2009 meeting of Civil Rights activists. Dr. Lowery, after listening to a discussion about diversity, forcefully reminded the audience that the desired end of the civil rights movement was never diversity but rather justice.8 For Dr. Lowery, the issue was and is not a matter of achieving demographic variations for the sake of diversity, but rather of realizing the numbers at the entry levels and throughout the organizations in the pursuit of this justice.

This paradigm sprung forth as the civil rights movement reached its peak in 1964 and produced the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act a year later. Subsequently, a wide variety of antidiscrimination laws emerged around age, disability, equal compensation, ethnicity, pregnancy, religion, retaliation, and sexual harassment. Race and sex were covered in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

As can be seen, both rhetoric and accomplishments reflect the moral and legal nature of this paradigm and the reality that it is not positioned around diversity. The paradigm’s parameters further demonstrate this reality. These include its goals and focus, definition of diversity, principal vehicles, principal undergirding assumptions, key obstacles, key facilitators, approach tendency, desired results, and global relevancy.

PARADIGM PARAMETERS
Definition of Diversity

As a consequence of the paradigm’s initial focus on racial and ethnic minorities and women, those who hold this paradigm define diversity as the inclusion of individuals who are different from white males—in particular, African Americans, other minorities, and women.

Goals and Focus

The founding intent of the civil rights movement was to make amends to African Americans for the “sins” of slavery and discrimination. The goal has expanded over time to include women and other minorities who have been oppressed or disadvantaged by practices now considered illegal and undesirable.

The second goal has been to mainstream African Americans, other minorities, and women into and at all levels of the country’s society and organizations, in the interest of justice. The aspiration has been representation, not diversity.

Principal Vehicles

Two vehicles have characterized this paradigm’s efforts to foster the making of amends to African Americans. The passage of laws banning segregation and discrimination served as the initial vehicle. High expectations and considerable fanfare accompanied the passage of those laws, along with predictions that change had finally arrived. When those legal developments did not generate the desired increase in the involvement of African Americans in the workforce, proponents of making amends looked for a more direct vehicle.

Outreach became that vehicle. It often manifested itself as corporate responsibility, which gave rise to affirmative outreach—the most prominent form of which has been Affirmative Action, which was designed to promote the recruitment, selection, and retention of qualified persons who otherwise might not be included.

As Affirmative Action grew in use, it attracted challenges. Going forward, the issue will be whether politically acceptable reasons can be found for continuing Affirmative Action9 or for developing new forms of acceptable affirmative outreach.

Also, corporate social responsibility gave rise to community involvement efforts in minority communities. This support, for example, took the forms of financial contributions to community nonprofit entities, board memberships, executives on temporary assignment with nonprofits, and other creative involvements. Offices often were established to coordinate these efforts, all of which have proven to be more politically acceptable for making amends than Affirmative Action.

It should be noted that amends in the form of “reparations,” or under that label, have been even less acceptable than Affirmative Action. Requests for reparations have not been warmly received by the public.10 (More will be said about reparations in the next section.)

Principal Undergirding Assumptions

This paradigm placed four critical assumptions on the table. The first was that making amends would be achieved by fostering equal opportunity in ways congruent with the country’s values. The congruency requirement prohibits Affirmative Action from granting preferences on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, or other demographic variables. In other words, the country will not discriminate illegally to make amends for past discrimination.11

Implicit in that first assumption was the notion that reparations for past sins would not be in the form of money. In the past, that view has been challenged, but proponents of financial reparations have been largely dismissed. However, Douglas A. Blackmon’s recent Pulitzer Prize–winning book Slavery by Another Name:The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II12 might reenergize the reparations debate.

Blackmon documents that despite the official ending of slavery in 1862, law officials and corporate representatives often conspired through trumped-up charges to “legally” imprison African American men until the 1940s. Specifically, he describes a widespread scenario in which an impoverished black male would be arrested on a frivolous charge, taken before a makeshift court, and fined an amount he could not pay. A corporate official would then pay the fine in exchange for the individual working off his indebtedness. Unfortunately, years—indeed, lifetimes—could expire before the debt was paid. Blackmon’s documentation of such practices reaffirmed the argument of reparations advocates that many economic enterprises thrived on the backs of blacks, either as slaves or as victims of “slavery by another name.”

A second assumption of the “make amends” paradigm has been that making amends for past wrongs is a moral, social justice–human rights–civil rights issue. This reflects a view that slavery and the related subsequent discrimination were morally wrong.

A third assumption has been that the mainstreams of society should reflect the racial, gender, and ethnic makeup of the general population. This assumption undergirds societal expectations that the workforce of our organizations and government agencies should reflect the racial, gender and ethnic make-up of the broader society. That is the mainstreaming aspiration.

Finally, this paradigm assumed that new entrants into the work-force would assimilate (fit in). Logically, this made sense. If people want to be mainstreamed, they must like what they see and try to fit in so as to participate to the fullest. The “on boarding” responsibility of welcoming managers was to assimilate these new entrants. Books and courses were made readily available to assist in the assimilating process. This assimilation expectation is another critical piece of evidence that representation, not diversity, has been the goal of this quadrant.13

Key Obstacles

The paradigm Make Amends for Past Wrongs has been popularly held, but there have been obstacles to acting upon it. A critical one has been the legacy of slavery, segregation, and discrimination. On the one hand, individuals and groups have the scars of discrimination: cultures characterized by poor education, limited workplace experience, and esteem issues. On the other hand, organizations and the broader society have been characterized by cultures and parameters designed by and for white males, and, indeed, often built on the premise that minorities and women were to be excluded or their presence minimized.

The tendency to think that slavery and discrimination are part of the United States’ “long ago,” not its recent history, has been a barrier, as well. Yet Slavery by Another Name argues in well-documented fashion that slavery continued under another guise far beyond its official ending. The practices giving rise to this challenging legacy may be more recent than typically thought. As such, the legacy questions may be more difficult than we might expect.

One aspect of this legacy has been a lingering set of discriminatory beliefs and practices that hinder building environments for pluralistic populations. Although a lack of readiness for pluralistic change might exist without racism, lingering racism is one of its driving forces.

Because of the legacy, there has been a backlash or re sis tance to the presumption of debt owed to minorities and women. Those offering the re sis tance have insisted that very few slaves—if any—are living now; therefore, the victims of injustice are not around to receive the amend. However, the Slavery by Another Name argument may mitigate this position.

Another obstacle has been our society’s many affinity subcommunities based on race, ethnicity, or gender. The existence of such sub-communities has often made it difficult to have pluralism within organizations. As one senior executive of a large corporation commented, “How can I create a pluralistic environment internally when society is still focused on maintaining a white male dominant environment with homogenous racial and ethnic subcommunities?”

To complicate matters further, members of the white male communities and the affinity subcommunities often have little understanding of each other and poor communications between them. Their relationships frequently reflect parochialism and defensiveness about their perceived turfs—characteristics that discourage pluralism.

Key Facilitators

Juxtaposed with the obstacles have been three powerful facilitators fostering action on the basis of this paradigm. First and foremost, society desires the mainstreaming. Society values a mainstream pluralism characterized by harmony and unity. What the civil rights movement fought for has become by and large the aspiration of the land.

Further, this mainstreaming has been viewed as a moral imperative. This is why when I talk about a business rationale for diversity, someone frequently says, “And it is the right thing to do.” They are saying representation is a moral imperative—a social justice, human rights, moral imperative matter.

Backing up society’s aspirations around this moral imperative is a significant body of laws and administrative policies. These laws and policies put legal and governmental teeth behind representation.

Desired Results

The goal of this paradigm has been proportionate representation of minorities and women in all sectors and at all levels of organizations and society in pursuit of justice. While there is straightforward agreement about this aspiration, some question how serious community and organizational leaders are about achieving it.

Strategic Predisposition

Proponents of the Make Amends for Past Wrongs paradigm favor the Managing Workforce Representation strategy to achieve their goals. This strategy, serving as a filter of perceptions, channels all thought and actions toward the numbers as the mechanism for promoting social justice, human rights, and civil rights and mainstreaming African Americans, other minorities, and women.

Global Perspective

This chapter, perhaps more than the others, is U.S. centric. Given my foci on the origin and evolution of each diversity management strategy, this is appropriate. Yet I have long recognized that the United States is not unique in having to make diversity decisions—decisions about who will become a citizen and on what grounds—or in experiencing racial and ethnic tensions. While the specifics of this chapter and its discussion of Quadrant I are oriented toward the United States’ experiences, every country and its organizations have grappled with the core dynamics reflected in this discussion. This is not to say that every country has experienced the U.S. history of enslavement and oppression, but simply that each has had to determine who can become a citizen and on what grounds. This is not a uniquely U.S. discussion.14

DISCUSSION

Several observations emerged as I reflected on this chapter. The first is that the Managing Workforce Representation Quadrant and its undergirding paradigm Make Amends for Past Wrongs have—paradoxically, given the paradigm’s position against financial reparations—had a largely undiscussed role in facilitating such reparations. As such, they may comprise the basic components of a reparations approach to diversity.

That is because as our society has resisted the idea of reparations per se, it actually has been going about the business of reparations. For example, Managing Workforce Representation can be thought of as a form of financial reparation, since it enhances financial opportunities for African Americans. Further, recent apologies for slavery offered by governmental and other entities illustrate a reparation spirit in the midst of re sis tance.15

It seems as if despite the distaste for the word reparations, our actions as a society have been somewhat accepting of the notion. It will be interesting to see how Slavery by Another Name influences the discussion, as well as our practice, of reparations.

My second observation is that the dynamics around “Making Amends” can help us appreciate how this initial paradigm has affected the development of the diversity field. The centrality of the paradigm explains, for example, why when Justice Powell talked of diversity as pluralism and behavioral variations, paradigm subscribers heard “Diversity is synonymous with Affirmative Action.” This happened even though Affirmative Action has never focused on behavioral variations, but rather has focused on the numbers. The paradigm filter prevented recognition of the inconsistency.

Similarly, this paradigm has allowed its advocates to avoid scrutinizing Justice Powell’s assumptions that pluralism generates behavioral variations and that these variations can be beneficial. What subscribers have heard is that if these assumptions are true, we can take race into account as one of several factors when making selection decisions—that is, we can continue our desegregation, antidiscrimination, Affirmative Action, mainstreaming along racial and ethnic lines.

This is unfortunate. Without the “Make Amends” paradigm, the following questions would also be part of the bottom line of the Bakke case:

• Under what circumstance does pluralism generate behavioral variations?

• If necessary, what has to be done to foster behavioral variations?

• How do we ensure that these variations are beneficial, and not harmful? Or are these variations always inherently positive?

The “Make Amends” paradigm has allowed subscribers to stay focused on pluralism and the numbers. But this consistency has had its costs. It may also have blocked explorations that in all likelihood would have advanced the field of diversity without compromising Quadrant I.

The dynamics around this process demonstrate very well how paradigms encourage the holder to pour new wine into old bottles. On the one hand, this minimizes distractions, but on the other, it inhibits exploration, creativity, and innovation that might bring progress.

A related, third observation is that by encouraging the pouring of new wine into old bottles, the “Make Amends” paradigm has contributed to “diversity fatigue”—at least the version where people grow weary of talking about the same thing over and over, as in “How can we get the numbers required for pluralism?” By attempting to “fit” new ideas into “old” paradigms instead of other diversity paradigms that would be more compatible, the “Make Amends” paradigm has hindered the development of the field.

My fourth observation is that—as is true of all the quadrants—neither this quadrant nor its underlying paradigm has within itself the capability to address its challenges, especially those of the revolving door, glass ceiling, and premature plateauing. Because of the emphasis on pluralism and the numbers, relatively little attention is allocated to creating environments that will promote greater utilization and retention of new entrants to the workforce. As a result, the “Make Amends” assumption of a willingness to assimilate on the part of newcomers remains a critical obstacle to achieving the paradigm’s goals.

Despite the prominence of the “Make Amends” paradigm in the diversity arena and its successful undergirding of progress with representation, its net impact on the field’s evolution may very well be negative.

SOME TAKE-AWAYS

CEOs and other senior leaders have used the strategy of Managing Workforce Representation to solve the “diversity problem” of mainstreaming African Americans, other minorities, and women. To sum up:

1. Historically, the driving motive has been the pursuit of justice, and operationally this has meant a focus on “the numbers.”

2. Considerable progress has been made, but sustainability has been an issue.

3. Representation (mainstreaming) and diversity management are not the same.

4. The undergirding paradigm for this strategy is Make Amends for Past Wrongs.

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Endorsements

“The most important work in the field of diversity that I have read in recent years. It displays amazing insight into the challenges of the current state of managing diversity yet ignites the imagination about what is truly possible. A must-read book for every CEO, senior leader and professional practitioner of diversity in any industry."
—Frederick D. Hobby, President, Institute for Diversity in Health Management, American Hospital Association

“This is an indispensable book for any leader or talent management professional who wants to support the progress of a diversity initiative. Dr. Thomas has spent a lifetime providing us with models that have refined and extended our thinking.”
—Beverly Kaye, founder and CEO, Career Systems International, and coauthor of Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em and Love It, Don't Leave It

“Dr. Thomas is a true pioneer in the field of strategic diversity management. This book is a continuation and extension of his decades-long legacy of thought leadership. His insights and approach are a targeted guide to what's needed to thrive in the future and allow all of us— organizations and individuals—to reach our full potential.”
—Mike Prokopeak, Vice President and Editorial Director, MediaTec, publisher of Diversity Executive, Talent Management, and Chief Learning Officer

“The trials, tribulations, and opportunities facing fictional CEO Jeff Kilt in the latter part of the book sound all too familiar! Kilt is a composite of many well-intentioned leaders who lack a framework or process to achieve world-class status—a case study on the shortcomings of good intentions alone. For those who have wondered what's next in the field of strategic diversity management, this guide is it.”
 —David L. Casey, Vice President and Diversity Officer, CVS Caremark

“Roosevelt Thomas stimulates the reader with a compelling conceptualization, authentic examples, and thought-provoking analogies, such as how changing an organizational culture is comparable to changing an individual's personality.”
—David A. Kravitz, Professor and Management Area Chair, School of Management, George Mason University

“This important book provides fresh insights and a strategic process that will assist governments and market-based leadership in developing national diversity policies and strategies.”
—Robert L. Lattimer, Senior Fellow, Diversity Studies, Rutgers University

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